Community Meeting Monday in Big Sur

There will be a community meeting on Monday, September 19th at the Big Sur Station (MAF) at 6:00PM. The meeting will present updated information on the Soberanes Fire from the new California Incident Management Team 4, the USFS and the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and will answer any questions you may have.

Soberanes Fire, Day 58, 9/17/16

I think this is the longest post with the most maps, information, and photos that I have published thus far, but that’s it for tonight. Time to put this (and me) to bed. Good night, Gracie.

From 8:30 pm a new satellite pass MODIS map. This one provided by John Chesnut, again:


From Ana (Alva) Sargenti taken at 7:45 from her driveway on East Carmel Valley Road. This has got to be spooky. I think some of you on Partington Ridge, Apple Pie Ridge, etc. can relate to this, right?


From Iris McWilliams who says this is above the dam.


7:15 pm – and here is what I see from my perch south of Nacimiento. That peak in the bottom left is Cone Peak. Below the column is the drift smoke.

Processed with Snapseed.
(c)Kate Novoa

7 pm – I am seeing a huge plume down here, which I usually don’t see from this far away and in that direction. I’m sure my CV friends are nervous. Here is a photo just taken by Sandy O’Keefe Bellany. Don’t think my shot came out, but will see if I can fix it.


6:00 pm – from Tularcitos, taken by Emily Miller, just now.


5:45 pm – photos taken by Matthew Millea from the Galante Vineyard. What’s interesting about this photo is one can see a very small spot fire on the east side of Hennicksons Ridge in this first photo – slightly right of center on the ridge line. Keep an eye on that one.



3:30 pm – Burning Operation of the east side of the Soberanes Fire, photo by (Mike? Richard? or? – didn’t identify himself in the email) who says this: “Just shot this one of the backfire on hennicksens, looking over little bear trap Miller mountain in the background.”


At around 2 pm, by Kevin Gillman who says: “Looking south east from my deck in Trampa canyon. Henickson’s ridge burning toward the dam. Chews ridge off to the left, los Padres dam off to the right. Taken about 2 pm today.”


Now these tell a story, don’t  they?  Make sure and read all the comments on this one, as people are sharing their first hand experiences of this operation. Yesterday, after 2 days of this operation there was 2 and 1/2 miles of line burned. This morning, there was 4 miles burned. Thank  you Richard and Kevin for sharing will all of us who can’t actually see this bad boy.

One of the things I paid close attention to on my way up the mountain was the direction the wind was gently blowing, which was NW, the exact direction they would want to make this line as strong as possible. I am just amazed at what they can predict and therefore do these days. That is a positive side of technology.

(FWIW, my Nat Geo topo trail map spells that ridge “Hennicksons” (I am informed by a decendent that historically it is actually Henningsen, after his great grandparents who homesteader this ridge.)


Soberanes Fire

Los Padres National Forest

Daily Update: September 17, 2016

CONTACT: Fire Information Line: (831) 204-0446 –

Incident: The Soberanes Fire is burning in the Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, in Monterey County, CA. The fire was started by an illegal campfire on July 22, 2016, in Garrapata State Park.
Agency Jurisdiction: CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit/Los Padres National Forest.
Incident Command: California Incident Management Team 4, Rocky Opliger, Incident Commander.

Current Size: 108,441 acres (71,247 acres CA-LPF; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)

Containment: 59% Personnel: 1,942 Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 7 injuries

Structures Destroyed:
57 homes, 11 outbuildings
Structures Threatened: 410
Crews: 20
Engines: 133
Helicopters: 19
Dozers: 9
Masticators: 2
Water Tenders: 11

Current Situation:

Favorable weather continues to support the planned burnout operations on the east side of the Soberanes Fire. Crews on Friday burned out areas on the east side of Chews Ridge to extend the indirect fire line* toward the Los Padres Dam. Burnout operations** have completed approximately 4 miles of line.

Today, operations will continue north from Bear Trap towards Los Padres Dam. Structure protection is in place within the immediate area.

The incident strategy is personnel and public safety, while protecting values at risk in the remote, rugged terrain of the Soberanes Fire area. Additional resources are in place to support the current operations.

As temperatures continues to rise and the relative humidity decreases, fire activity will increase. With increased fire activity the public can expect to see additional smoke in the fire area.

The fire is 59% contained. As the burnout operations progress and the indirect line is strengthened, the containment percentage will continue to rise.

Laurel Springs Road continues to have heavy use of fire equipment traffic. The public is advised to avoid the road.

All evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect.

For more information, visit: or follow us on social media at or

*Indirect fire line is a fire line constructed away from the hot edge of the fire.
**Burnout is intentionally burning vegetation from the indirect fire line.

7:30 am – from John Chesnut:

“No overnight IR flight (there is a read me explicitly stating this). [reproduced below]
There is a IR helicopter flight from 3:40 Friday in the VETS folder.

VIIRS satellite shown substantial expansion of the Chews Ridge Burn”


7 am – another smoke-free day on the west side of this monster. Could not locate an IR flight map from last night, but found this:

“Soberanes, CA Wildfire Overview – 17 September 2016
Weather Conditions –
No data was available for analysis.

Details –
No data was received for this wildfire. No products were produced or provided.

Acreage –
Estimated Acreage: 108,031 (As of 16 September 2016)
Acreage Change (if any): +N/A”

This is what the “read me text” for the IR flight says, so it would appear that no flight was done last night, or if one was, the data for it was unavailable for interpretation.

I do, however have some of the other maps I usually provide. I will be gone this morning, and probably unavailable until afternoon sometime.


Briefing Map in PDF



Operations Map in PDF


Div UU VETS Map in PDF


Div. L Map in PDF

And here are the fire behavior and weather prediction discussions for both sides of the fire: